By: Preston Yuen (Hardware/Testing) and Jonathan Kwan (BIOS)
February 28, 2014
"I'm a poor student," my friend once said, "but I still want a good gaming computer for $700." "That simply is not possible," I replied, thinking that even a decently good gaming computer would mean a dedicated video card, somewhat decent processor, good amount of RAM; you know the drill. I thought to myself that if he had gotten most of the parts, it would easily exceed his budget, not to mention we have not added the cost of the operating system yet. I then asked myself whether it is even worth building a new gaming computer when one claims to be a "poor student". Let me put it this way, you can run to your local electronics store, and pick up a decent laptop for much less cash if you are merely looking to complete your schoolwork. What I'm trying to say is, if one doesn't have the resources to obtain luxurious items, why strive to get them in the first place? On the bright side, as years have passed, technology generally became cheaper. I remember back in the days when desktops and laptops first hit the market, everything costs a fortune. If you ask me, I would much rather spend that money on daily living expenses, haha. Fast forwarding ahead a decade, if you recall, the original G1.Sniper I have reviewed back in 2011 cost roughly $430 at press time. Unless you are a real enthusiast and are awfully loaded, that motherboard was quite pricey for most people. Fast forward a bit more to today, what we have here at APH Networks is Gigabyte's G1.Sniper Z87 motherboard priced at a seriously affordable $170 at press time, which is about two-fifths the cost. Yet, Gigabyte claims they have packed quality parts in it such as high performance Creative sound with Nichicon MUSE ES audio capacitors and a dedicated network processor. Will this be the savior for "poor students" who desire what an expensive gaming computer provides without the cost associated with one? Keep reading to see what we have in store today!
Our review unit of the Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87 motherboard came in a fairly decently sized brown corrugated cardboard box from our good ol' neighbors down south in California via UPS Expedited. Contrast with the original G1.Sniper for LGA1366 processors I have reviewed a few years ago, the shipping box is only about half the size at most. With tons of packing material in between, everything arrived in excellent condition for our review today.
Like many other motherboard boxes, the packaging box for the Gigabyte G1.Sniper Z87 is pretty straightforward. The brand and model name is presented in front of the box quite boldly along with other features displayed around the box. It doesn't take a genius to find out all the great features for this motherboard, but just in case you have missed it, some of the most highlighted features are the Creative Sound Core 3D audio, Killer E2200 game networking chip, and Nichicon high end audio capacitors. If you're not sure which socket type processor to buy, Gigabyte prints this on the front as well just to be sure you get a LGA1150 socket processor.
As usual, let's take a quick look at the lengthy specifications, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:
Above is a CPU-Z screenshot of the motherboard tab running Gigabyte's G1.Sniper Z87 in Windows 8.1 Professional 64-bit. At press time, we were using Gigabyte's F2 BIOS revision. This is the latest BIOS revision at the time of writing this review.
1. Introduction, Features, and Specifications
2. Bundle, Chipset, BIOS
3. A Closer Look, Board Layout, Test System
4. Benchmark: AIDA64 CPU
5. Benchmark: AIDA64 FPU
6. Benchmark: AIDA64 Memory
7. Benchmark: PCMark 8
8. Benchmark: 3DMark
9. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 8.0
10. Benchmark: SuperPI 1M, Cinebench R15
11. Onboard Sound (RMAA 6.3.0) Analysis
12. Overclocking and Conclusion